Thumbs Up of the Week: Tom Brady (@ PHI)
Brady slowed down a bit prior to the bye with 14.6 fantasy points per game over his past three appearances, but I expect the Patriots to come out firing this weekend as they look to build momentum into January, and Philadelphia is best attacked through the air. Although the games have obviously been spread out over the years, Brady has a 15:2 touchdown-interception ratio against the Eagles in six career matchups (including playoffs), and his 341.5 passing yards per game against them is the best mark versus any opponent. Get TB12 in lineups.
Thumbs Up: Josh Allen (@ MIA)
A rushing touchdown boosted Allen’s fantasy output last week (25.4 points), but we are still waiting for that breakout, overall QB1 performance, and it could come this week in Miami. When the Bills hosted the Dolphins in Week 7, Allen had 21.3 fantasy points despite Miami putting together a ten-minute drive in the second half to limit his opportunities, and last season, the dynamic gunslinger combined to rush for 230 yards and two touchdowns in two matchups. Plus, Buffalo sounds like they may open things up after last week’s loss, which would be great news for Allen’s upside.
Thumbs Up: Nick Foles (@ IND)
Foles only played 11 snaps in his Jacksonville debut back in Week 1, but he came out hot with 75 yards and a touchdown, so his talent combined with a familiar system should lead to immediate success now that he’s back under center. Last season, the Jaguars-Colts matchups had very different outcomes (the first was a shootout and the second was a 6-0 game), but I think Sunday should fall closer to the former, and Foles is a streaky passer that’s capable of a huge game. He’s a top-15 option for me.
Thumbs Up: Kyle Allen (v ATL)
If last year is any indication (the Panthers threw it 98 times in two games against Atlanta), we can expect Allen to be airing it out early and often on Sunday, and he should be playing with tons of confidence after taking the Packers to the limit at a snowy Lambeau Field in Week 10. The Falcons just held Drew Brees and the Saints in check coming off the bye, but they’ve shown enough vulnerability on the backend to believe Allen and his weapons can take advantage of the matchup, especially with Christian McCaffrey—who saw a whopping 28 targets against the Falcons in 2019—working as a key cog in the passing game. Allen is an excellent streaming option.
Others: Derek Carr (v CIN), Jimmy Garoppolo (v ARI)
Thumbs Down of the Week: Jared Goff (v CHI)
Goff is getting far too much blame for recent struggles in Los Angeles, but including last season’s four-interception performance against Chicago, the former No. 1 overall pick has a 17:16 touchdown-interception ratio over his past 16 games (13 regular season; three playoffs), and there isn’t much optimism that Sean McVay’s passing attack will turn things around due to the state of the offensive line. Being at home will help and makes Goff worth a start in two-quarterback leagues, but he needs to be avoided in normal 10- or 12-team leagues as teams fight for a spot in the fantasy playoffs.
Thumbs Down: Carson Wentz (v NE)
Even taking Lamar Jackson’s 28.6 fantasy points into consideration, New England has allowed a miniscule 7.4 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, and their suffocating secondary will likely present problems for Philadelphia this weekend. Wentz has been hesitant to make plays as a runner through nine games, so unless that changes (or the team finally features Nelson Agholor), it’s difficult to imagine fantasy owners being rewarded with big-time numbers in Week 11.
Thumbs Down: Kirk Cousins (v DEN)
Cousins has seen his stock increase with multiple scores in five of the past six games, but the underrated Denver defense will be his toughest challenge since September, and I am assuming that Adam Thielen (hamstring) will be held out through Minnesota’s Week 12 bye. That leaves Stefon Diggs to do battle with Chris Harris Jr., and Vic Fangio will surely do his best to make sure Dalvin Cook is unable to beat the Broncos as a receiver after what he did last week in Dallas. Cousins should be a avoided for a potential slugfest.
Thumbs Down: Kyler Murray (@ SF)
Murray was a “Thumbs Up” against the 49ers on Halloween and scored 23.0 fantasy points in an impressive comeback attempt, but that came in Arizona, and the outlook for a rematch at Levi’s Stadium isn’t quite as promising. In four home games this season, the Niners have allowed fantasy point totals of 14.5, -2.0, 0.3, and 16.6 to opposing quarterbacks, and they will want to come out determined after their first loss of the year. It might be wise to look elsewhere for a quarterback to get you into the fantasy playoffs.
Others: Mitchell Trubisky (@ LAR), Baker Mayfield (v PIT)
Thumbs Up of the Week: Damien Williams (@ LAC)
I actually expect LeSean McCoy to be active on Monday night, but Williams is the clear leader of the Kansas City backfield coming off a 24-touch game, and fantasy owners should be encouraged by him not even missing a snap after losing a fumble in Week 10. At 6-4, the Chiefs don’t have any time to mess around with the Raiders (and Chargers) right on their tail, and Williams is clearly their best all-around running back. The 27-year-old should return RB1 value against a Los Angeles defense that struggles to defend backs both on the ground and through the air.
Thumbs Up: Brian Hill (@ CAR)
Devonta Freeman (foot) is out for the next two weeks, so Hill is set to be Atlanta’s featured back until Thanksgiving, and he couldn’t ask for a better matchup in his first start. Besides being a talented player in his own right, Hill will face a Panthers defense that has allowed the most yards per carry (5.2) and rushing touchdowns (17) in the league; and just last December, Hill rushed eight times for 115 yards against them. Start him confidently as a high-end RB2.
Thumbs Up: Joe Mixon (@ OAK)
Oakland isn’t an easy matchup based on what they’ve shown for most of the season, but the Bengals clearly want to commit to the running game after giving Mixon 32 touches in a 36-point loss last week, and he should see another heavy workload this weekend. Also, it’s worth noting that Mixon rushed 27 times for 129 yards and two scores against the Raiders in 2018, and Melvin Gordon (19.8 fantasy points) had success running the ball on Jon Gruden’s squad last Thursday night. Cincinnati’s top offensive player is back in RB2 range.
Thumbs Up: Devin Singletary (@ MIA)
Buffalo faced some criticism for coaching and play-calling after last week’s loss to the Browns, and one of the main grievances was a lack of carries for Singletary, who rushed just eight times for 42 yards (5.3 YPC). However, the rookie runner saw a career-high seven targets, and his playing time (67%) was right in line with previous games (including when he had 20 carries in Week 9 at a 66% snap rate). Singletary should be a top-15 play against a Miami defense surrendering 146.1 rushing yards per game.
Others: James White (@ PHI), Kareem Hunt (v PIT)
Thumbs Down of the Week: David Johnson (@ SF)
The Cardinals have said otherwise, but Johnson is clearly less than 100%, and it will be difficult to trust him as anything more than a very risky FLEX play until he has a big game—which puts fantasy owners fighting for a playoff spot in a tough position. Even if DJ comes out looking like himself on Sunday and handles 15+ touches, I expect the 49ers to be a lot better against the run than they were a couple of weeks ago when Kenyan Drake went off. There is still hope Johnson gets more involved as a receiver down the stretch, but his time might not come until after the Week 12 bye.
Thumbs Down: Phillip Lindsay (@ MIN)
A 30-yard touchdown run busted Lindsay’s miniature slump the last time we saw him, but he’s now played fewer than 50% of the team’s offensive snaps in every game since Week 3, and you probably need another long run and/or score for him to return strong RB2 value in a challenging road matchup. Minnesota showed last week against the Cowboys that they can stop the run with or without defensive tackle Linval Joseph, so Lindsay is a FLEX option that should be avoided if possible.
Thumbs Down: Carlos Hyde (@ BAL)
Hyde has been really good for Houston this season with 80+rushing yards in five of nine games, but I think he’s best viewed as a touchdown-dependent FLEX play for Week 11. While the Ravens were just run on by Cincinnati, the defensive front will be bolstered after they signed Justin Ellis (350 pounds) and Domata Peko (325 pounds) this week, and stopping the run should be a priority as the stacked secondary contains DeAndre Hopkins and company. Keep Hyde on the bench despite a career day before the bye.
Thumbs Down: Sony Michel (@ PHI)
Michel seeing just five touches in Week 9 isn’t a sign of things to come for him long term, but the Patriots aren’t going to run the ball if they feel it won’t be effective against Philly’s stout front, especially when you consider Tom Brady’s success against their secondary in the past. I still have Michel ranked as a low-end RB2 because of the touchdown upside, but he isn’t a must-start if you have solid alternatives this week.
Others: Kenyan Drake (@ SF), Latavius Murray (@ TB)
Thumbs Up of the Week: JuJu Smith-Schuster (@ CLE)
Excluding his NFL debut when he wasn’t even targeted, Smith-Schuster has averaged 14.8 fantasy points per game in three matchups against Cleveland, and it’s worth noting that he’s had a 100-yard game both with and without Antonio Brown in the lineup for those still somehow hung up on him not being a true No. 1 receiver (which is ridiculous). JuJu went for a 5/103/1 the last time he was a “Thumbs Up,” and I’m anticipating another big game under the lights for him on Thursday night; the Browns have already been shredded by Cooper Kupp (11/101/2) and Julian Edelman (8/78/2) out of the slot this year.
Thumbs Up: Mohamed Sanu (@ PHI)
Sanu didn’t take long to acclimate himself to New England’s offense prior to the bye, as he saw a career-high 14 looks in his second game with the team, resulting in a 10/81/1 line. The Rutgers product should remain a key intermediate target for Tom Brady this week in Philadelphia, and I wouldn’t be worried about Sanu’s past struggles against the Eagles (98 scoreless yards in four games) having any impact on his chances of a productive game with the Pats. Consider him a solid low-end WR2/FLEX option.
Thumbs Up: Calvin Ridley (@ CAR)
As a rookie, Ridley scored in both games against the Panthers, going for lines of 4/64/1 and 3/90/1 on just ten total targets. Now, he will get to face them for the first time in 2019—but without Austin Hooper (knee), Devonta Freeman (foot), and the aforementioned Mohamed Sanu in the lineup to take targets away. The explosive playmaker has no business being ranked outside the top 20 at the position for Week 11, and my current WR19 ranking might be too low.
Thumbs Up: Marquise Brown (v HOU)
The dominance of T.Y. Hilton against the Texans is well documented, and Brown should is a similarly dynamic deep threat that could do serious damage on Sunday. Through seven games, Baltimore’s first-round pick has scored four touchdowns on 28 receptions and is averaging 9.7 yards per target. I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Hollywood” catch a couple of deep touchdowns to save (or destroy) a fantasy season in Week 11.
Others: D.J. Moore (v ATL), Terry McLaurin (v NYJ)
Thumbs Down of the Week: Allen Robinson (@ LAR)
I fully expect Jalen Ramsey to shadow Robinson all over the field on Sunday night, and if he doesn’t find the end zone (which he’s only done in two games so far this season), it could be a long night for him and fantasy owners. In last year’s matchup against Wade Phillips’ defense, Robinson was held to five grabs for 42 scoreless yards, and I doubt Mitchell Trubisky is going to test Ramsey much in what could be a defensive battle. Chicago’s No. 1 wideout is more of a FLEX for this week.
Thumbs Down: Christian Kirk (@ SF)
It’s understandable if you don’t want to bench a guy that just scored three touchdowns and is seeing a healthy 9.0 targets per game, but San Francisco held Kirk to eight yards on two receptions just a couple of weeks ago, and before his Week 10 explosion, the 22-year-old hadn’t scored since last November. He should have a productive outing compared to the first matchup against the Niners, but with the bye coming up, Kirk is probably best left on the bench until December.
Thumbs Down: Alshon Jeffery (v NE)
Jeffery came into the week as a probable “Thumbs Down” because of a matchup against shutdown cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and now that he has an ankle injury on top of it, the floor is too low to have any confidence about the six-foot-three receiver in fantasy lineups. Perhaps the Patriots will routinely double cover Ertz and leave Gilmore on an island with Alshon, but even that wouldn’t be an encouraging draw. I have Jeffery outside the top 40 at the position.
Thumbs Down: Stefon Diggs (v DEN)
He was able to get some production later in the game, but I think it’s safe to add Odell Beckham Jr. (5/87) to the list of receivers that have been contained by Chris Harris Jr.—which had already included Davante Adams (4/56), Keenan Allen (4/18), T.Y. Hilton (2/56), and Allen Robinson (4/41). Diggs has the talent to beat anyone, but a franchise-record stretch to close out October has been followed by four receptions for a combined 53 scoreless yards over the past two weeks, and most of the attention will be on him again with Adam Thielen (hamstring) facing another absence.
Others: Kenny Golladay (v DAL), Courtland Sutton (@ MIN)
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